As I sit here in my office looking back at everything that's happened this past year, it's amazing to me how God works when we let Him.
There's been something going on in my life that I haven't been very vocal about because to be honest, it made me feel like a failure. I thought that if I talked about it and let everyone know about it then they'd KNOW I was a failure and then "who would listen to me".
That was my ego talking. And officially, here and now, I'm stuffing a sock in it's mouth.
All I know is if I can share what I've been through, maybe just maybe, it will help you or someone else to see that there is always hope…there is always a way.
Let's start with how the mess began…
Many of you know of my years selling Real Estate for builders here in Las Vegas. It's no secret that the Las Vegas housing market has been the black hole of foreclosures and short sales for a few years now and doesn't look like it's getting better any time soon. The results have been devastating economically, from a numbers stand point.
What few people see is the day-to-day effect it's had on good, hard-working people.
It was humiliating to be "down-sized" because of the market conditions. It was torture to find myself sitting straight up in bed at 3 in the morning for way too many nights, crying my eyes out because I didn't know how I was going to cover the bills that month. How was I going to take care of my son? With my income at 25% of what it once was, I'd nearly run out of savings after not being able to get another job after over a year. The creditors were calling from morning till night. It was even more humiliating (for me) to do, but I had to declare bankruptcy.
I'm not proud of it, but it was the only to hope to salvage what I'd worked so hard for; to get some relief from the constant, sometimes overwhelming stress…and the saga continued. And so did the mess.
This past March, after nearly two years of working with what turned out to be an extremely incompetent attorney and still no bankruptcy confirmation in sight, I fired him. His work was so bad and he'd made so many mistakes that I figured I could do a better job on my own. So, for several months I was my own lawyer.
(Please do NOT try this at home…it sucked )
The bankruptcy originally started with the fight to keep my own house after every attempt to work with the bank failed. It was the home I lived in, the one I designed just the way I wanted. It's beautiful. It's mine and I wanted to keep it.
That house is a dream house. It's not overly fancy, but it has stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, gorgeous dark wood floors and plantation shutters. I chose every detail. Lovingly, painstakingly. It has custom paint and a custom made patio with brick pavers. I hung every ceiling fan and installed every custom light fixture.
And now…someone else is living in it.
No, I haven't lost it, but it was pretty darned close. The only way to save it was to move out of it and make it an investment property, to rent it out. Crazy isn't it that I own five (used to be six, but remember the bad attorney? Nuf said.) investment properties and can't live in any of them.
I know some of you won't feel too sorry for my situation, after all I get to keep most of my "stuff", right? That's very true. I consider myself very lucky. However, since all of this began, I've had to hold on to them by a thread at times. In the past three years, ALL of my houses have been trashed by tenants who felt they were entitled to a free roof over their head, or to steal the appliances, or to steal cabinets. They left disaster in their wake ( they were mad that I evicted them for not paying rent, go figure) and the houses were left beyond filthy. Sometimes it was so bad, it made those people on the TV show "Hoarders" look like neat freaks. I'm not kidding.
All that mess took money, lots of money ( and new, responsible tenants) to put right again.
Financially, things kept going from bad to worse. Why didn't I just throw up my hands and walk away? I asked myself that question…a lot. Every time I didn't think I could take one more thing (like three air conditioners going out in a 30 day period), I'd ask God "why?". He'd say "Hold on, keep the faith, there's always a way".
You know what? There always was. Sometimes it showed up at the very last minute, but it always showed up.
Like the thing with my own house. After many head-to-head battles with opposing attorneys, I had a heart-to-heart with my new attorney ( I might be stubborn, but I'm not dumb. I knew I needed a professional so I hired a good one) I made the decision to move and rent it out. It was the only way; or I stood the risk of losing everything. It was heart-wrenching. Not to mention scary. Since this thing had dragged on so long, my once-stellar credit is now beyond horrible at this point. Who on earth is gonna rent to me? (Ego talking again. Shut up ego)
Not only was I moving me, but I had to move my 8 year old son out of the only school he's ever known. For any kid it's tough, but Emanuel has learning disabilities and a change in his routine can throw him into a tail-spin for quite a while.
At one point he said (crying) that he wasn't going to move and would live in the empty house. I wanted to crawl under a rock.
But here's how good God is. Within one week's time of making that decision, I put my house up for rent and it rented within a day, found the house (my miracle) I'm living in now and moved. What a whirlwind!
My biggest concern when I started looking for a house was finding someone who would rent to me with my current credit…mmmm…status. I had visions of living in Motel 6 or a refrigerator box under a bridge somewhere. Overly dramatic, I know but unless you've lived it, it's hard to imagine how scary things can get.
Another miracle was in the works…there was this house listed on Craig's List that I was absolutely drawn to. I was looking at other one's, but I always kept coming back to that one. It had been on the market for two weeks in a neighborhood literally one minute away from my youngest daughter and her family. It's in the same neighborhood I lived in for 11 years and loved.
I called on it and was told that there had been NO ONE else that had looked at it or even called on it. I thought that was a little strange since the pictures of it were beautiful. Two story, 3 car garage, three bedrooms, a loft and an office (with doors…bonus) and a POOL! The price was perfect. What the heck was going on?
I made an appointment to see it. The pictures didn't do it justice. It was gorgeous, spotless and unbelievably perfect for what we needed. My son and grandmunchkins would even be going to the same school!!
OK, I thought. Now I have to tell them the credit situation. Better to be up front and get rejected now than get my heart set on it and have them tell me to take a hike.
I didn't have to worry. The owners are lovely. My credit didn't matter. (Huh? This was definitely a God thing) They gave me the keys five days early and even offered to let me split the deposit into two payments. They wanted someone who would take good care of the house and pay on time. Yes folks…that would be me We were approved without question. Everything just fell into place. It's like it was meant to be…
At first I couldn't believe it, but then I just smiled…
I know that God was keeping this house for me. Even though I couldn't stay in my dream house, He guided me to one that is absolutely wonderful. No worries about getting a "knock at the door". The stress is gone and the peace I feel is almost unreal. I know in my heart that even if the worst happened and all my "stuff" got taken away, we'd still be secure and comfortable.
God made a miracle out of the mess.
I said it earlier and I'll say it again. When the world feels like it's caving in around you and you just want to quit, be very still and
listen. "Hold on, there is always a way". He'll lead you out of your mess if you'll let Him. The key is to Trust Him and Let Him. You'll
never have to worry again.
As 2011 closes out and 2012 is on the horizon, I'm super excited. Financially, I'm no where near out of the woods but I have my Plan written down and my priorities in place. I have my own business now. No one is ever gonna get the chance to lay me off again. I'm working with not one, but two awesome coaches for the entire year. Both are successful in their own right, and together this mess will truly become a miracle. I believe that with everything in me.
In order to create that miracle though, I know I have to change. I have to once and for all get over my "stuff" (my excuses). God will only do His part when I do my part. I'm ready to do what it takes and make the changes to turn this mess into a miracle. If you're facing your own "mess", it's my hope that you're willing to make a change, too. You deserve every success.
Folks, there's nothing material that can't be fixed or replaced, we all know that. It's our relationship with God and our family and friends that matters. Those are your everyday miracles.
Maybe you have a story of how a mess became a miracle. I'd love to celebrate it with you and everyone who visits here; so please share your story in the comment section below. Take care. Talk with you soon. Until then..